Thursday, November 14, was my anniversary.
But there were no cards or cake. I didn’t toast the day with a glass of champagne or by getting a bright, shiny new manicure. Instead, I cancelled my nail appointment and sat at home coughing and blowing my nose. I was sick with a cold and that spoiled my day.
I had planned to celebrate that day because sixteen years ago, my then-neurologist said those unforgettable words, “You have Multiple Sclerosis.” And from then on, this damn disease always has been with me. I celebrate MS’s unwelcome invasion of my life and try not to think of my diagnosis date as a day I lost control over my life to an awful, relentless disease.
Instead I spend the day trying to focus on some positive aspects of my life after MS became part of it.
I see that while MS has brought more than its fair share of tears and frustration into my life, without it I may have shed even more tears. Tears cried over my loneliness because without my MS, I might never have met Dan, the man of my dreams. Or tears because of the weight I couldn’t find a reason to lose, but because of my diagnosis I’ve lost a little more than 100 pounds.
Or tears because I felt so empty inside that I couldn’t find my life’s purpose or calling. And it may seem unlikely, but MS helped me find it. I believe that I am meant to share my story to help myself and others living with this disease feel not so alone. Without MS, I probably wouldn’t have had a reason or the opportunity to meet many of the amazing people I now know and am able to call my friends.
Sure, some people may roll their eyes at my attempt to think of my diagnosis positively, but that is the way I choose to handle my MS. And for right now, that positive thinking helps me get up each morning to face this monster. Maybe next year I won’t be able to see it positively but right now, stuffy head and all, this was what I thought about my MS anniversary. That and, “Stupid cold, I really wish I had some cake!”
Have you have ever thought about getting involved in a Multiple Sclerosis clinical trial but didn’t know how? Healthline.com recently introduced a great online resource. On this webpage you can read about the various trials, their location and the research criteria for your involvement. You can check it out here.
And our MS community recently lost an incredible champion, caregiver and friend. Patrick Leer was among the first bloggers we connected with when we started our blog. He was such an inspiration for us as caregivers and people living with MS. We are deeply saddened and our prayers are with him, his wife, Patti, and their family.
Rest in Peace, Patrick.